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Nihao School January Activity Highlight

Driving Fire Trucks

Can you help us find the fire truck? Now let’s make the sounds together! In this activity, our little friends let their imagination roam by pretending to drive fire trucks together. Older friends are to think of other vehicles they could pretend to drive, then we will come up with lyrics and actions in the song together. We close this activity with a discussion on the work of firefighters and the jobs and roles familiar to our little friends.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Culture, Family, and Community: let’s talk about and role-play what family members do during the day

  • Social-Emotional Development: side-by-side play progressing to interactive play, and using imitation or pretend play to learn new roles and relationships

  • Music: responding to musical sounds and exploring vocal sounds through imitation; expressing pleasure or excitement when listening to music

Play & Learn at Home:


Wave Hello

Our little friends wave to others with an interactive song “Hello Hello!”. While singing along, we encourage children to wave to the friend named and call out the name. As the song is repeated, everyone shows a BIG SMILE and wave. There were lots of “ello ello ello” echoing off-beat, but all of the participants had so much fun repeating each other name and being called and responding with a friendly wave.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Self-Awareness & Self-Concept: develops awareness of self as separate from others; reacts when hearing own name, and beginning to realize their own hand and feet belong to them when clapping, waving or stomping to the beat.

  • Trust and Relationships: shows interest in other children and responding to them

  • Music: explores volume

Play & Learn at Home:


My Feet Can Pedal

After the crazy rainy season, we’re now able to explore the backyard for adventurous outdoor play daily. A lesson on riding safely was one of our little friends’ favorite lessons. We practiced pedaling and identifying body parts that we use when riding our toys. Questions during circle time included “can you find the pedals?”, “what body part do you use to pedal?”, “is this friend being a safe rider? How can you tell?” We celebrate little friends’ attempts and independence as we guide them in taking off the helmets and putting away the riding toys.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Self-Awareness & Self-Concept: develop an awareness of own body and others; takes pride in showing things they can do and have done; attempts to do some things independently but asks for help often; shows confidence in increasing abilities through actions and language; help clean up with guidance

  • Gross Motor Development: begins to control body, developing vestibular sense – balance and spatial orientation understanding

  • Self-Care: listens and watches adults’ facial expressions and voice tone for cues of a harmful situation; recognizes some harmful situations with guidance; begins to understand safe and unsafe behaviors

Play & Learn at Home:


Iceberg Play

Our little friends had fun pretending in the iceberg play area after reading the books “”Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” and “Peguin or Polar Bear Which Will You Be?”. We cleared an area and called it our “iceberg play area” and asked little friends to find items in the classroom that resemble frozen ice, the sea, and iceberg from the book. As we spread out a blanket in the area, we cut out fish and iceberg pieces, placing them on the blanket to make water and icebergs. As we began playing on the blanket, some friends pretended to be animals that swim, while some picked up cut-out pieces. We had a few bears that wanted to eat the fish! While the play continued, some friends wanted to watch for a while to observe the activity, and we came up with a role for them - “the tourists”!

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Dramatic Play & Imagination: observes and imitates sounds, gestures, and behaviors of others, using imitation or pretend play to express creativity and imagination

  • Earth Science & Environment: identifies and describes objects; discusses seasonal and weather conditions

  • Language Development: follows simple one and two-step directions with adult support; listens to stories and conversations and confirms understanding through simple reciprocal language; progresses in understanding by listening and pointing to specific characters or objects when asked

Play & Learn at Home:


Building Roads

We have blocks of different sizes in the classroom for little friends to build roads by lining up blocks to make long roads, short roads, straight roads, and curvy roads. Once the roads are in place, the children can roll the toy vehicles along the roads. Older friends enjoyed building roads and buildings. We offered construction paper to make road signs, such as stop signs and yield signs and talked with our little friends about what the signs mean. While some played with their vehicles, others enjoyed dancing to the background music “The Wheels on the Bus”.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Gross Motor Development: moves body to travel (walk well, begins to run, dances, moves up/down steps), moves in coordinated body movements

  • Fine Motor Development: uses more refined hand and wrist movements (scribbles, stacks blocks); coordinates hand and eye movements and controls small muscles when doing simple takes (hammers pegs, uses different size crayons for scribbling)

  • Dramatic Play & Imagination: moves to act on environment with intent and control and vocalizing to get attention; uses multiple toy props to engage in pretend play

  • Foundational Reading: begins to recognize and understand that pictures or symbols can be “read” by others and have meaning; begins to develop alphabetic awareness

Play & Learn at Home:

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